Elementary: Season 5
Of all the countless fictional characters that have been retrofitted to appear in other forms of media, one of the most conducive to such migration and robust in a myriad of potential incarnations, near the top of that illustrious ranking is Sherlock Holmes. Certain comic books may hail a caped crusading vigilante will that title undoubtedly belongs to this quirky master of deductive reasoning and forensic investigation. One of the most recent incarnations the master sleuth has been transplanted from his traditional home at 221B Baker Street to a Brownstone in a gentrified neighborhood in Brooklyn. He resides there with his partner and former sober companion, Joan Watson, MD (Lucy Liu). Unlike many variations of these famous archetypes, Dr. Watson was given an involved backstory that is never overpowering yet ready to insert a modernizing twist as necessary. This difficult balance was quickly achieved and judiciously employed over the past five seasons. Ever since the character had been created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and in late 19th century, the persona of Sherlock Holmes has always balanced a preternatural intelligence and deductive reasoning with some very human foibles. Drawing on one of the most common, Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) is a recovering heroin addict. The reiteration of this fact is germane in this consideration of the six-season due to the crucial part this plot device plays in underlying motivation. As with any person in recovery, Sherlock is one slip away from losing everything he has worked so hard to achieve. Concurrent with the designated central story arch the writers undertook the arduous task of achieving a balance between Sherlock’s pursuit of his investigated gifts and the dark abyss of his addiction. It is always critical to provide the viewers with the two-fold impact of a season/series long arch with the episodic cases that serve as the basis for the stories heading each week’s activities.
This season introduces a new principle character, Shinwell Johnson (Nelsan Ellis), one of her last patients while Joan wails still a practicing surgeon. Upon investigation, she discovers he had been incarcerated in he was in prison for vehicular manslaughter. The presence of Shinwell immediately begins to drive a wedge between the partners. Sherlock is convinced Shinwell is deeply involved in a wider act of conspiracy than previously indicated. Before he encountered Joan in her capacity as a surgeon, Shinwell had an exceptionally nefarious past dominated by criminal activity and violence. Those conditions resulted from his association with the South Bronx Killas (SBK). Although he had the best of intentions, desiring above all else to reconcile with his daughter. He remained a point of contention between Sherlock and Joan particularly over his potential for rehabilitation. They offer to train him to be a confidential informant for the NYPD Gang Unit. When Sherlock becomes restrictively demanding, Shinwell responds by licking the sleuth nearly to the point of death. This is a season of constantly shifting alliances as at one point the gang leader (Jon Huertas) hires Sherlock to uncover a traitor.
The most crucial themes in the season continue the exploration of Sherlock with others in his sphere of influence. The unexpected return of Kitty Winter (Ophelia Lovibond), a young woman Sherlock took on as an apprentice during his sojourn back in England. Kitty was a deeply disturbed young woman, a survivor of a prolonged imprisonment, physical and psychological torture and repeated rape and sodomy. This left her back substantially scared and emotionally devastated. After murdering the man responsible, she went into a self-posed exile. External factors are responsible for a significant portion of the dramatic plot points driving the principle storylines. Among the most poignant factors used to propel the character development and underlying narrative is Sherlock’s battle with heroin addiction. Despite no longer in the capacity of Sherlock’s sober companion, Joan remains worried about his recovery. When she discovers, Sherlock has been forgoing his NA meetings she tries to give him an opportunity to work out his issues on his own or, willingly come to her for help as a friend. Most incarnations of the Sherlock Holmes include his infamous predilection for drug abuse but, this is one of the few that address the aftermath of such a laborious personal struggle. His extraordinary powers of observation, detective reasoning, eidetic memory and the ability of correlative prowess, understandably sets this character far beyond those of the regular humans in the audience. Struggling with addiction, the humbling effect of needing others to help him deal with his problems and inner demons places the renowned Holmes closer to the mortal man. Within the context of this series, the larger than life ultimate detective becomes approachable, subject to bonding on an emotional basis with the audience. To reveal more on this would constitute a spoiler but suffice it to say the plot device is infused with nuance and permitted to grow until it creates a season finale that is guaranteed to keep fans wondering until the start of season six.
The modern demographic came of age in a time when technological advances have become fully integrated into daily life. The writers responded to this requirement in episodic plot devices dependent on aspects of the digital age. A particularly good example seen in a case involving a kidnapping of an executive of a post production effects company. Incriminating video falls under suspicion as a result of evidence of CGI manipulation. A bizarre twist is inserted with the setting, an optional clothing resort. The core of the Sherlock Holmes mythos has always been his ability to resolve cases that presented esoteric clues successfully affording a platform of Sherlock’s encyclopedic command of minutia. Few detectives could have noticed the nuances necessary to solve a case, the theft of the Imperial Jade Seal of China. The scope of the cases presented I this series run the gamut of local street gangs to global intrigue.
In American television of the crime/mystery genre, it is rare to have a male and female lead characters not become romantically involved at some time or some degree. The relationship between Sherlock and Joan is purely platonic with no\chance of escalating Imperial Jade Seal of China.hey to anything emotional or sexual. They are business partners, formerly student and mentor, who have gradually extended to a friendship based on mutual respect. In previous seasons Joan has had her lovers, but this season Sherlock embarks on the emotionally risky endeavor of opening himself to a relationship with another person. He begins to become close to a woman, Fiona 'Mittens' Helbron (Betty Gilpin). Fiona is a brilliant software developer and a White Hat Hacker. She is on the autism spectrum which manifests as a difficulty to perceive or respond to social cues. Sherlock finds this trait appealing as it is consistent with his social awkwardness. The series remains not just one of the most consistently entertaining and engaging treatments of this iconic character, but it is a solid example of how a TV mystery should be crafted.